Inspirational Latina engineer Diana Iracheta gives us the low down on her life in STEM.
Hi, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Diana Iracheta. I am 23 years old. I am a Mexican immigrant. I moved to the United states when I was 12 years old. I recently graduated from Northern Illinois University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. I currently work as a Manufacturing Engineer at Methode Electronics. And I have recently started a blog called "The Life of a Latina Engineer" (latinaengineerlife.wordpress.com) where I focus on sharing my experiences as a minority in STEM as well as to create resources that can help anyone get through college but more specifically engineering school. Some of these resources include guides in how to pick a major, what classes to take as a STEM major, or even how to study and get the most out of your classes.
What are your goals?
As part of my career, one of my goals is to obtain a leadership role in engineering. A second goal of mine would be to grow my brand in order to reach more students and create more educational content that can help students get through engineering school but also raise the number of Latinas in engineering. A third goal of mine would be to start a scholarship program for student in STEM.
What made you get interested in tech?
I had always liked Math. But I never knew what I could do with it. Eventually I took more classes (like physics), and I found out that what I enjoyed was problem solving. All of STEM and tech careers have that thing in common, we often tend to be curious and want to learn how things work, and we like to problem solve. so I went into college thinking I wanted a career in those areas and eventually as I took more classes I started to make my path into Mechanical Engineering.
Do you have a mentor? Do you mentor anyone?
I don't have a mentor at the time. But during college I had two mentors that really helped me develop confidence as I made my career in a male dominated field. They were both female professors in physics and engineering and always taught me that I should be no different than any other student in my field but also believed in me every step of the way. I am a mentor, I currently mentor a 15 year old student through a program called the Fig Factor Foundation which focuses on empowering young Latinas. My second mentee is a high school student that is starting engineering school next year, this mentorship started through my Instagram page.
Who do you follow? What blogs do you read?
I am currently on the hunt to find as many Latinas in engineering as I can. Kat Echazarreta is one of my favorites. She is a Mexicana leading the way for us Latinas. She works at NASA and she is just the smartest and sweetest. Then there is Natalee Castillo which is showing us that we can do engineering in style. They are two Latinas that I am really proud of and that are here to change the way we see engineering. Other than that there are so many women in STEM that I have met through Instagram that are so inspiring. The Women in STEM community in Instagram is very welcoming and I wish I would have found it earlier when I was still in school.
What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?
I think my Instagram account (@Latina_engineer) is the place where I post the most updates of what I am working on. But many of my work I share on my blog as well, my LinkedIn ( www.linkedin.com/in/dirachetaa ) and even just recently my youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgsD84mx8BFn8X8PMpuwmrA)
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